We Need to Stop Apologizing

We often feel guilty for things we shouldn’t.

The desire to please people feels almost instinctive for me, probably due to both nature and nurture. People like myself are hyperaware of the shifting moods around us; we sense tension in the air. We can tell from the subtlest change in vocal tone or body position that someone is defensive or relieved, irritated or intrigued.

And many women (+ some men) apologize far too often. We endlessly criticize ourselves. No matter how hard we try, we’re never polished enough, prepared enough, impressive enough. We are all too aware of our inadequacies. These issues are worsened by the social-media-comparison-game; our cluttered houses or loud kids or hastily-thrown-in-a-bun hair seems pitiful when we behold stylish women with picture-perfect homes and mild-mannered children.

Below is a list of things we need to stop apologizing for:

  • Not wearing makeup and/or fixing up our hair
  • Not having an immaculate home
  • Being tired
  • Not being able to take on another volunteer role
  • Needing time to ourselves and/or to relax
  • Not having the meal prepared just yet when people are ready to eat
  • Speaking up during a group conversation
  • Correcting misinformation
  • Our children misbehaving
  • Not wanting what a telemarketer or real-life salesman is advertising to us

Can’t you picture these so easily?

I’m sorry; I look like a train wreck today.

I’m sorry; I’ll have dinner ready in just a few minutes.

I’m sorry; I think you meant to say “the Civil War” rather than “the Revolutionary War.”

I’m sorry; I don’t need a new health insurance policy.

I know some men are more sensitive or more geared the way I’m describing. But I’ve only ever been a woman, so that’s my perspective; feel free to share another viewpoint. As a woman, I conciously and subconciously feel that I need to be small. Many women try to take up as little physical and metaphorical space as possible. Since speaking our minds, having needs, and requiring attention does the latter, we often compulsively apologize to minimize ourselves.

Coincidentally (or is it divine fate?), the lectionary this week includes lines of Psalm 139, which tells us we are each “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Remember that you are specially crafted in the image of God and infinitely beloved.

To all those who are empathetic, who are people pleasers, who nitpick themselves, who never seem to be good enough: you are worthy of all the space you take up and more. Stop apologizing for being human.

What else do people need to stop feeling guilty for? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading.

P.S. In my latest vid, I discuss bitterness, both in the nation (extreme political divides) and my personal life (having a progressive disability, the tension that arises in the caretaker-disabled person relationship). Then, I mention other instances that can cause bitterness and beckon viewers to reflect on who or what causes bitterness in their lives. Then, I end with a devotional.

Please watch, like, and/or share if you are interested. Thanks so much. ♥

13 comments

  1. This is so true, and there are so many unnecessary reasons why people apologise. I think generally more women do so than men, just because like you say we are under pressure to take up as little space, and to be more quiet. However I suppose it does depend somewhat on the person.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. Sometimes it feels like we are not allowed to have an opinion on any topic unless we first have conquered every aspect of our lives 100%.We have to realize that what we see on TV and in magazines is not real. Those are photo shoots and movie sets where they can create that perfect look; and if it isn’t just right they can Photoshop it or re-shoot the scene. We don’t always resemble models, but we do look like lovable, imperfect families who make memories in our lived-in homes. We must stop being so hard on ourselves; we have nothing to apologize for! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll admit as a man I struggle with people-pleasing and feel bad if I don’t meet expectations and an apology is necessary. I know I should do better about it, and of course I usually apologize to folks who call me out for my people-pleasing. So it’s a self-defeating cycle.

    Liked by 1 person

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